Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Real Back-to-School Shopping List

I don't think Uncle Sam had finished his Pabst Blue Ribbon or fired off his last bottle rocket before the Wal-Marts of the U.S. unfurled their giant Back to School banners and the whole joint started smelling like crayons and kindergarten. I confess that my heart beats a little faster when I stroll through the aisles of school supplies. My love of office supplies is seriously in my list of Top 5 Reasons I Became a Teacher in the First Place. This time of year is early Christmas for me, except all the gifts are FOR MYSELF. My husband is out of town on business right now and when I told him I was going to spend all of our money on school supplies, he laughed nervously. Laughter because he know's I'm kidding, but the nerves because he knows I might not be.

Take my money, Target Dollar Spot!
We all tend to have a little shopping list put together of some classroom necessities before the kiddies come running back in. Pencils, pens, paper, etc. This is the list we show our spouses and families and say, "My gosh, look at all of the supplies my darling students need that the school won't provide!" and they say, "Wow, you are a good teacher! That's so good of you to make sure your kids have everything they need." That's also where my husband says, "Umm... will it really cost $300 to get that stuff?"

No, sweetheart, no it won't.

Because there's another list.

The real list. The list of the true necessities.

This is the real back-to-school shopping list.
  • Coffee (not the unleaded stuff... the real stuff)
  • Bourbon (or other alcoholic beverage of choice)
  • Dr. Scholl's Massaging Gel Insoles
  • The jumbo pack of gorgeous ink pens in a brilliant array of colors. I mean, no one in their right mind will ever use the weird terra cotta colored pen or the one that looks like cat puke, but it's completely worth it for that periwinkle color you can't get anywhere else.
Original Image Source
  • A new lunchbox. Sure, you've got one from every year of your teaching career stashed in that weird cabinet in your kitchen, but this one... this is the one.
  • Lunch containers for your new lunch box, because you will definitely make better lunch choices when your Tupperware matches.
  • A box of chocolate Pop Tarts because, let's face it, that goal you made about eating a healthy breakfast every morning is pretty ambitious.
  • A cut-and-color ("Aww, you like my hair? That's sweet. I just woke up looking this fabulous.")
  • The most annoying alarm clock you can find, because that will definitely help you get up on time.
  • A cute new tumbler cup... for water, of course.
  • A super-fancy, very expensive planner that will ultimately be pretty useless but LOOK AT ALL THOSE COLORS AND THE CUTE OWLS! (Erin Condren, I'm looking at you, chick.)
  • The cutest new first-day-of-school outfit that walks the fine line between "that super nice totally approachable teacher" and "that bitch who don't take shit off anyone."
  • The Target Dollar Spot (the whole thing)
  • 7 of the exact same cheap little basket in an array of pleasing colors
Target strikes again!
  • A new teacher bag... so many pockets!
  • A Cerberus/Fluffy action figure*
  • Funny signs to hang in your classroom**
  • A dozen new books for your classroom library (pending your reading and approval, of course)
  • A "system that is guaranteed to make you a better teacher" (filing system, paper distribution, discipline records, cat herding)
  • Ibuprofen
That basically sums up my list! What kinds of goodies do you have hiding out on your secret back-to-school shopping list? Please share in the comments! Should be good for a laugh. :)

*Check! Bought it on vacation.
**Check again! It's a "No Whining Zone" sign and will go above my door, I think.


  1. I have a "No Whining" wooden plaque. Totally worth it. I'd buy it again! I'm in total agreement about the pens and all the Erin Condren stuff ( and yes, I bought all of it !) I LOVE school supply shopping! Have you tried Staples' binders? Love, love, love them!

  2. Ah, one of my favorite posts. I also get a little obsessive when it comes to school supply shopping! I got a dozen new teacher posters when Zazzle had a sale (and an EC planner and binders and colorful printer paper and the $17 pens that my students will never be allowed to touch...)!! Still need to get the gel inserts, though. :)
    Great list!


  3. This post is so true! My boyfriend is doing all the whining right now because I keep spending money (that we don't have) to prepare for my new classroom. He especially hates when I buy books because he's moved the HUGE totes in our garage like 6 times already (in and out of various homes & storage.. I haven't had that many jobs), but I just remind him that books are, for me, what tools are for him. That analogy works well for a contractor! :)

  4. These are all so true...except instead of bourbon I tend to load up on bottles of wine to help me tackle the many essays that will eventually fill my perfectly organized desk to make it a perfectly organized mess. And this year I'm trying out an Erin Condren planner for the first time. (I'm hoping I can make it work as a high school English teacher!) But my most important item that I absolutely have to buy every year (even if I already have some) are colored pens...I love using my different colored pens.

  5. I got the lunch box (came with new ice pack and containers) and the school bag (which turned out to be way to big, so the current 31 bag will suffice as my new one is now my weekender suitcase). Where did you get those pens?!?!?! I got a new travel mug last spring and need to make a hair appointment soon. My classroom survival kit (ibuprofen, snacks, ect) needs to be build. Thanks for sharing.

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